Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
Maggie’s face held a pained expression, she opened her mouth, but I held up a hand to stop her. I took another step back, then looked around for Sebastian. He was gone. I fled the room, but not before I stopped by the living room and told his mother in a strangled voice that he was awake. She rushed past to me in time to miss the tears that fell from my eyes. I knew I deserved his scorn, but that didn’t mean it hurt any less.
I headed to Flynn’s truck prepared for my mom’s wrath upon my return.
Opening the door, I was prepared for the worst from my mom. Instead, w
hat caught my attention was the boy on the stairs with arctic blue eyes poised on me like he was a starving polar bear in search of his last meal. I paused for a second waiting for the barrage of expletives and anger because I’d taken off with his car. When he said nothing, I decided I would ignore him. I turned my back and closed the door thinking he’d made it very clear were we stood. What a fool I’d been to care so much about his near death experience.
The door clicked. Much to my weary bones, I leaned into it a little with my shoulder. I felt like the weight of a Mack truck against my back with a swinging medieval blade at my front. One false move and I’d be done for. And let’s face it, my decisions hadn’t been stellar.
Turning, my body jerked. Flynn stood no more than a foot away from me. How had that happened? I hadn’t heard him move and the look he gave me was darkly predatory. The back of my foot met the door and I had not more space to put between us.
“What the hell?” I fumed, trying to hide some of my discomfort. He didn’t look at all like himself.
“I need you and you owe me,” he growled and pointed to the keys in my hand. His voice was gruff and maybe under other circumstances would have sounded sexy as hell. But his words contradicted everything he said the previous morning. So I couldn’t stop the eye roll.
Not caring I’d dismissed him, he stated, “I need to get laid.” Well, that stopped all motor function in my body. I gaped at him. His eyes narrowed. “Not you,” he said but let his eyes rake over my chest and down to stop at the zipper of my jeans. “I need you to run interference with my father so I can get the hell out of here.”
When his eyes finally met mine, ignoring the tension that suddenly surrounded us, I said, “I don’t get why your dad won’t parole you?” David was nothing short of fair. In fact, he spoiled Flynn rotten and never held anything from him like my mom did me.
“He thinks the demon hunters are hiding in plain sight. Like maybe I’ll hit up the wrong girl,” he paused, “then lights out.”
I understood his irritation at being cooped up, but I couldn’t help but think that David was right. Also, it was in normally my nature not to buck against authority. “Maybe he’s right,” I said.
“Like your mom,” he said coolly.
Okay, that stung. My mom was an abysmal failure at the whole raise your succubus daughter. She’d meant well, as hard as that was to swallow. Even after all our fights recently, I kept telling myself that she had my best interest.
“Yeah, well, it’s been two fucking weeks. No scratch that, I haven’t gotten laid for two weeks and I’m horny as all hell, thanks to you.” He stepped closer and I tried to blend into the door like a fat head poster. “Right now I’m considering Luke’s wrath if I were to throw you over my shoulder and give you what you need.”
“What I need is for you to step the back,” I squabbled.
Leaning in, so that his minty breath fanned over my face, he said ever so softly, “But what you want –.”
There was a knock at my back. And no, it wasn’t heaven knocking, although I would consider the interruption my saving grace. Flynn leaned up, licked his lips and stepped far enough back and to the side, that I could open the door.
The foot gap that I allowed, revealed a small girl who looked about thirteen. She had a cheerleader smile and carried a couple of boxes in her hand. When she spoke, her spiral dark curls bounced against her olive skin like someone with ants in their pants. “Hi, I’m sorry to bother you. My sister is a girl scout and has to sell all these cookies. It’s for a good cause. And they’re really good. Only two dollars a box,” she blurted, with a look that said she hated doing this more than I hated the sales pitch.
The sincerity in her face made me want to buy all she had. “Yeah, sure,” I said, “Wait just a minute.” Opening the door wider a little, I spun to go get cash from upstairs. I had a fleeting thought I should have offered her to come in while I did the deed.
Before I could take another step, Flynn’s hand grabbed my bicep and swung me out of the way. He stepped into the doorway as my back hit the wall beside the door. It all happened so fast, I only heard an umph sound before he pulled the falling body in our house and closed the door.
“Oh my god! What did you do?” I yelled, looking down at a dagger pressed into the girl who resembled a living doll. Her eyes were wide and I watched helpless as they dulled with her final breath. I couldn’t help it, I screamed.
My mom was the first to respond. David wasn’t too far behind as they rushed down from the second floor. I covered my mouth and looked at Flynn as he stood there all smug. I pointed at him like a small child would at the boogey man.
“What?” he challenged. “She had that dagger ready to stab you in the back. If I hadn’t stepped in, that would be you.” He pointed at the now dead girl bleeding out on the entryway tile. I was beginning to hate this part of the house; it had seen far too much blood and death considering my father’s entrance on my birthday and Flynn’s near fatal blow by the other demon hunter.
“What happened?” my mom barked. David stood looking at his son but not with scorn. No, David trusted his son. Parts of me wished David was my dad.
Flynn explained and I didn’t listen. “She’s human,” I protested.
“She’s a demon hunter. Get your head in the game Mercy. It’s them or us,” Flynn spit. But he sounded winded. He was still injured.
I shook my head and was about to leave when the door opened. We were all huddled near it. When Luke’s golden curls peeked in, I couldn’t think about why he returned after he left in such an odd way before. Nor did I think about how much time had passed since last I saw him. Sebastian must have brought him back after he returned the car. No, I just moved into his arms. He shuffled me forward and someone closed the door behind him. I found myself back against the wall where I’d been before. But now, my face was pressed into his chest.
“Can you help her?” I mumbled.
My words were immediately over wrought with Flynn’s description about a ‘lollypop girl’ with a death warrant in the form of a dagger to kill me. He made it clear how he’d stopped it. Such colorful words from a boy whose crude remarks before had belied his intelligence. In addition, his strength was waning by the looks of him, but his ego suffered no such problems.
Luke pulled away just a little to listen and watch Flynn as he spoke. I couldn’t bear to look at Flynn’s face. A part of me knew he was right, but by the sweet face of the girl, it was hard to imagine her as my enemy.
My eyes swept from the floor and landed on his chest. I just noticed Flynn was shirtless. What troubled me more were the bandages wrapped around him, once again blooming crimson in blotches.
A gasped escaped me. Luke kissed me ever so gently before releasing me. Shocked because he had treated me like the plague early, I glanced in my mom’s direction as Luke’s left me. Her expression said she’d witness the kiss and wasn’t pleased. Her narrowed expressed followed Luke for a few seconds before branding into me.
Turning, I watched Luke put a hand on Flynn’s shoulder and another on the bleeding wound. Light emitted in a warm glow. It wasn’t nearly as bright as he was capable, and I cringed. His gifts had been reduced because of me. I looked away trying to hide my shame.
Flynn grunted and my eyes rushed back in his direction for a second. David spoke. “Mercy, go get a bucket of water and some bleach.”
David rarely asked or told me to do anything, so I moved without hesitation. Heading to the back of the house where the utility room was, I heard murmured whispers in my wake. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but it was clear I had been an obstacle. Therefore, I’d been sent on this errand to get me out of the way. A part of me was pissed. The other was relieved. The idea that we were forced to kill humans who were possibly brainwashed to believe we were evil sickened me. Okay, not totally true. The bitch Kristen who nearly killed Flynn had so deserved to die. But this girl, who now lay in a pool of her blood, had looked so innocent.
By the time I filled the bucket and grabbed some bleach, I’d come to the conclusion that looks were deceiving. The girl had come purposefully to look harmless to infiltrate our home. She had a dagger, poised to kill. She wasn’t innocent.
The bucket sloshed around spilling tiny droplets as I made my way back to the foyer. “What if she wasn’t alone?” I asked the group who’d gotten quiet upon my return. The dead girl lay in a heap at their feet and they didn’t seem to act like she was there. All eyes began to look at one another and Luke and David headed in opposite directions without a word. Luke out the front door and David probably out the back.
Flynn picked up the girl’s limp form. Although her front was soaked in red, the spot where her back lay was dry. The dagger hadn’t pierced all the way through. Mom and Flynn headed in the same direction David had gone. I didn’t look to where they were going. No one had actually answered me. They all just moved into action. My mind screamed that somewhere a mother or a father were going to miss a daughter. And even though she had murderous intentions they deserved closure they probably were never going to get.
Doing the only thing I could do, I cleaned, scrubbing the floor with a sponge that was painted in blood with the first swipe. The bleached water did nothing at first to kill the stains. I continued to wipe away at the blood that marked the beginning of an ugly war of humans against demons.
Luke was back first. “There’s nobody,” he said. “I didn’t see a car. I’m sure she wasn’t alone. They probably figured out what happened.”
That gave me a bit of relief for a second. “Will they call the cops?” I asked.
“Maybe,” he said.
Flynn walked in. The stain on his bandages was getting worse. Luke looked concerned. “Dream walking not working?” Luke asked, reminding me that Incubi could travel in the wild dreams of mortals and gain life force that way.
He shook his head. “If I don’t get laid soon, I’m going to go insane.”
“You’re dad’s got the body?” Luke asked. Flynn nodded. “Well, let’s go then.”
“Let’s go,” I repeated, stunned.
The two boys turned eyes on me after they knocked fist. I was happy they were behaving like best friends again, but I wasn’t okay with what I thought they were about to do.
“Mercy,” Luke said.
“No Mercy, me,” I said. “How are you going to go help him get laid? Are you going to help him pick up some unsuspecting girl, Mr. Wingman?” I was beyond angry and not just about Flynn and his needs. A girl died and everyone was acting like it hadn’t happened.
“Something like that,” Luke said, dryly.
Opening my mouth so that the flies of hell could come in, I spit out, “And what if the girl has a friend?”
Luke looked at Flynn. Flynn raised his shoulder and headed for the stairs with more pep in his step than I’d seen in a while. Luke stepped over to me and grabbed my wrist. “There isn’t anybody but you for me. I’m not going because I want to. I’m going because he needs it and I can’t heal him. The way he is right now, he shouldn’t be alone.” I heard the anguish in his voice. And again for the millionth time in one day, I felt the press of all my bad decisions.
All my insecurities came crashing down. It was absurd, yes, but I just witnessed a girl’s death. I saw how much it had cost Flynn to save my life as his wound continued to bleed. I felt Luke’s fear about the damnation I’d caused him. My emotional level was at a critical level. “And what if you meet some girl better than me?” I asked illogically.
“Mercy, there is only you. I haven’t touched a girl in months other than you. I’m a fucking monk for you,” he said, his tone edging to the sinister side of him that was showing itself more and more.
But today wasn’t the day. And I was hanging by a thread myself. “It’s not like I haven’t tried to have sex with you but you keep pushing me away,” I spoke, much louder than I’d intended.
“You aren’t ready,” he replied, his face red from anger.
Hindsight is clear as crystal, and I wished I could eat my next words. “I’m tired of being a virgin and if you aren’t up to the task, I’ll find someone else for the job.”
Silence. But it wasn’t there for the reasons one might think. No, we had an audience. My mom stood livid with her mouth compressed in a thin line. Next to her, a stupefied David just gawked at us after coming to a full stop. Flynn looked as smug as ever halfway down the steps. Luke’s expression held horror, hurt, and humiliation. He gave me one final glance before leaving out the front door. Flynn followed while David watched. I’m pretty sure he just thought Flynn was going to talk to Luke. But if any of them had truly paid attention, they would have noticed Flynn was dressed to kill.
“You, young lady,” my mom pointed, “were already grounded. And now you are more grounded. You will not be going out with Luke and he will not be spending his nights in bed with you.”
“You are such a hypocrite. We’re succubi, not saints,” I said. Then I used the same argument I did before to continue to make my point. “Like I said before, if I was a true succubus, I’d have to be a slut just to stay alive. Why does it matter about my virginity?”
“Your smart mouth is not helping your case.”
“Your silence hasn’t helped mine,” I challenged.
David stepped in between us. “Ladies, we have bigger problems.”
“I’m a sex demon, mother… a little heritage I got from you. If I choose to screw the whole football team, it shouldn’t matter.” And I stormed upstairs.
David’s soothing voice was probably the only thing holding mom back from paying me more lip service. But I was so done. Done with it all. I hated this life and I hated what I was and what I wasn’t.
Venting hadn’t been the word I would use when I called Maggie and burdened her with what happened.
“A human girl,” she said sounding sick to her stomach. Then it hit me. Maggie wasn’t necessarily one of us.
“Kristen was human,” I said, reminding her about what I’d reminded myself earlier.
“Yeah,” she paused. “Yeah, you’re right. It’s just crazy. What about her parents?”
It was a valid question. One, I’d thought of myself. “I don’t know. It wasn’t like we went hunting for her. It was self-defense.”
Quiet filled the tiny spaces between the tension. “You think they wouldn’t hesitate to kill me?”
More silence. “Maggs, no way. That would never happen.”
“Yeah, I know,” she said. But she’d asked. She probably thought about the possibility of her changing into a were, plus the possibility she might lose control like Brent did. The pauses continued to stretch out.
“Flynn’s still not better,” I said, softer.
“He’s not.” She sounded more worried than I thought she would.
“Yes.” I told her all about his bloody bandages and his lack of feeding.
As soon as I went quiet, she said, “He hasn’t had sex in two weeks.” Then she added a “Wow” in a long exaggerated sigh. A few moments later she easily changed the subject. “So your mom heard you say you wanted to bang Luke?” she asked chuckling.
Rolling my eyes to myself, I answered, “Yes,” thinking about the ridiculousness of it all. “And you’d think the world had ended instead of worrying that someone died today in our house.”
“Eme, that girl wanted to kill you. You should be thanking Flynn for saving your life.”
“Whatever,” I said. She almost sounded like she was hero-worshiping him.
“Don’t start. You know I’m right. That girl was seriously screwed up and she didn’t hesitate to try and end your life.”
Sighing, I said, “I know. It’s just…,” I began.
“It’s just that she was human. I get it. But honestly, based on what you said, I don’t think there was another choice. I just don’t see Flynn killing someone for no reason.”
After we got off the phone, I filled my confinement with homework. Tomorrow was a school day and I had many things I needed to complete, including a thousand word essay, which took forever.
A light knock came at my door just when I was wrapping it up. I still needed to proofread it, but it was done. “Come in,” I said.
When David popped his head in, it wasn’t a surprise. Flynn or my mom wouldn’t have waited for an invitation as long as the door wasn’t locked.
“You’re needed downstairs. We’re having a family meeting.” His face looked sympathetic and I loved David for it. He wasn’t my dad and had only been in my life less than a year. But I knew why my mom loved him and why Flynn adored him as well. David was just an all-around great guy.
When he shut the door, I stood fortifying myself for what this “meeting” was all about.